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Do you NEED a Private Tour to visit Bhutan!?

Written by Town & Tourist

Do you NEED a Private Tour to visit Bhutan!?

Bhutan, is a secluded & spiritual Buddhist Kingdom on the eastern edge of the Himalayas! It borders with Bangladesh, China and Nepal. 

The country is know for its dramatic landscapes which range from mountains to valleys, in addition to its number of Monasteries & fortresses!

Bhutan is a mysterious land, and not many people get to visit, you will find out why further down in this post! 😉

In this post I will cover the following, frequently asked questions submitted by the readers of Town&Tourist 

  1. Top 5 Unique Reasons to Visit Bhutan?
  2. Is Bhutan Expensive to Travel?
  3. Do Bhutan people speak English?
  4. When is the best time to visit Bhutan?
  5. Do you need a Private Tour to Travel Bhutan?
  6. Bhutan Travel Budget Calculator 
  7. Bhutan Travel Costs (Detailed) 
  8. Is Bhutan Safe for Tourists?
  9. Do You need a Visa to Enter Bhutan?
  10. Where to Stay in Bhutan?
  11. 8 Essential tips for Bhutan? 

A. 5 Unique Reasons to Visit Bhutan?

1. Trek along the Himalayas

Trek along the high Himalayas, popular peaks include  Jomolhari which is 7,326m high!

Jomolhari Bhutan

Jomolhari Bhutan. Source: www.tibettravel.org

2. Visit the Historic Fort in Paro 

In the northwest of Paro there are the ruins of a defensive fortress, Drukgyel Dzong, which dates back from the 17th century.

Fun Fact: Paro is also where the International Airport of Bhutan is located.

3. Explore Tigers Nest Monastery in Paro 

Tigers Nest Monastery  (Paro Taktsang) is a must visit Monastery which clings to the cliffs above the forested Paro Valley! 

paro-taktsang-the-tiger

paro-taktsang-the-tiger. Source: Trip Advisor

4. Visit the Capital Thimphu

Thimphu is the capital of Bhutan, it occupies a valley in the countries west!

The city is know for its many Buddhist Sites such as the Tashichho Dzong a fortified monastery and

government palace with a gold-leaf roof!
At 51.5 meters high, the vast bronze & gold Buddha Dordenma statue is located on a hill over the city!
When you get hungry, check out Centenary Farmer’s Market which sells local food and handicrafts on the weekends.
Schoolchildren Above Thimpu City

Schoolchildren Above Thimpu City. Source: Karan Kapoor/Corbis

5. Get Lost in Punakha

Punakha is a small town in the Himalayas. Iconic here include a 17th century fortress (Punakha Dzong) and the rivers Pho and Mo Chhu.
Fun Fact: The Fortress hosts a regular religious festival (Punakha Tshechu) which features many masked dancers & music.
Punakha Bhutan

Punakha Bhutan

B. Do Bhutanese people speak english?

Yes(Mostly!) Many Bhutan speak English, but as you will be with a guide anyway this won’t matter.

C. When is the Best time to visit Bhutan ?

The best time to visit Bhutan is during the spring months of March to May when the valleys come alive with flowers in bloom

Late November to early March is dry with pre-monsoon showers starting in May.

D. Is Bhutan Expensive travel?

Bhutan is surprisingly expensive to travel! There are many myths floating around that the government only offers a limited amount of tourist visas!

The fact is Bhutan’s tourism policy is “High Value, Low Impact”, meaning they want tourists to have a great time visiting the country

while still respecting its Buddhist culture and its untouched environment.

Bhutan has different system where you pay a hefty fee of $250 US Dollars per day during the high season (March, April, May, September, October, and November).

In the low season this cost is $200 US per person per day (December, January, February, June, July, and August).

There is also a $40 charge for solo travellers!! 

Discounts include: Students below 25, get 25% off!

What does Bhutans Daily fee get you!?

The GOOD NEWS is the hefty $250 per day fee, includes pretty much everything!!! You don’t pay a penny extra!

The fee includes your accommodation, food, ground transportation, entrance fees, and even private guide and driver!!

Travel insurance and flights are also not included, and there is also a visa fee of $40.

E. Do you need a Tour to travel to Bhutan!?

Yes!! Bhutan is very strict on who it allows into its country. You MUST to be part of a private tour group.

But believe me it is worth it…you will be traveling in lands where few have trekked before!

Here are some of my favourite private tours for Bhutan:

1. Taktsang (“Tigers Nest”) day hike

Taktsang Monastery Bhutan

Taktsang Monastery Bhutan. Source: Entartika imgur.com

2. Three-Night Best of Bhutan Tour From Paro

Paro Bhutan

Paro Bhutan

3. Bhutan Package Tour – 5 Nights 6 Days

bhutan-tour

bhutan-tour. Source: getty

F. Bhutan : Travel Budget Calculator

To help you budget your next adventure to Bhutan

Dive into our interactive Travel Budget Calculator below

User Guide: Simply select your “Travel Style”,  ” Number of Persons” and Number of Days Traveling.

Top Tip: “Group” travel budget gives the total budget for 4 people! To find out how much that is each simply divide by 4. Source:

How much should I budget when Traveling to Bhutan?

Travellers to Bhutan should budget $250 per day (This includes all accommodation, food and a private guide & driver)

for a budget alternative try NepalIndiaPakistan ,  Bangladesh and even Mongolia!

What is the Currency in Bhutan ?

The Ngultrum is the locally and officially accepted currency of Bhutan.

The Indian Rupee is also accepted in most place the exchange rate is 1:1.

1 USD = 71 Nu

1 GBP =93 Nu

1 EURO = 79 Nu

G. Bhutan Travel Costs (Budget):

i. Budget Backpacker Travel Costs:

Budget Bhutan Travel Costs
Budget DataCost (USD)
Average Daily cost:$60
Accommodation (Single Occupancy, Hostel)$15
Accommodation (Double Occupancy, Hotel)$28
Local Transport (Taxis, Buses, Subway)$12
Food & Water$12
Entertainment$10
Intercity Transport (Transport between neighbouring cities)$25

ii. Mid Range Travel Costs:

Mid Range Budget:Bhutan Travel Costs
Budget DataCost (USD)
Average Daily cost:$80
Accommodation (Single Occupancy, Hostel)$30
Accommodation (Double Occupancy, Hotel)$60
Local Transport (Taxis, Buses, Subway)$26
Food & Water$25
Entertainment$20
Intercity Transport (Transport between neighbouring cities)$35

iii. Luxury Vacation Travel Costs:

Bhutan Luxury Travel Costs
Budget DataCost (USD)
Average Daily cost:$150
Accommodation (Single Occupancy)$50
Accommodation (Double Occupancy, Hotel)$110
Local Transport (Taxis, Buses, Subway)$35
Food & Water$35
Entertainment$25
Intercity Transport (Transport between neighbouring cities)$40

H. Is Bhutan safe for tourists?

According to the UK Government, Bhutan  is a VERY safe country for tourists, with Crime levels extremely low.

However, like in any busy area be sure to not carry too much cash and exercise caution in crowded areas such as,

train and bus stations, airports to avoid pickpockets. I recommend purchasing a hidden money belt,

I take mine everywhere. See: Travel Accessories

I. Do you need a visa to enter Bhutan ?

YES! All Travel to Bhutan must be booked through an authorised travel agent well in advance.

To book see our recommended tours HERE

Sources: UK GovernmentUS Department of State.

Insider Tip:

All governments advise on a valid Travel Insurance policy before traveling.

I always recommend World Nomads, I’ve used these for years.

J. Where to Stay in Bhutan ?

For a complete list of our recommend hotels in Bhutan, follow the link HERE

Note: Many tours include accommodation, but you can book separate…if you would like an upgrade.

K. 8 Essential tips for Bhutan ?

 1. Do you research! 

This post is a great start, International Porter Protection Group also provides useful guidelines for responsible trekking in the Himalayas.

2. Book a Private Tour

Officially you CANNOT visit Bhutan without being part of a tour. See our recommended tour guides HERE

3. Get some HIGH QUALITY hiking Boots! 

Check out our: Recommended Hiking Gear

4. Get HIGH QUALITY Backpack,

Backpacks

Backpacks

Check out our: Recommended Backpacks

5. Bring some HIGH QUALITY camping gear,

Check our our: Recommended Camping Gear

6.  Invest in a HIGH QUALITY Travel Camera! 

What better way to capture those memories!? See our: recommend Travel Photography Gear

Photography Gear

Make sure you are equip with some great Photography Gear!

7. Make Sure you have TRAVEL INSURANCE! 

All travellers to Nepal should have a robust travel insurance to avoid paying out thousands of dollars.

I highly recommend World Nomads, I have used these for the past 5 years and they

are one of the few providers which specialise in ADVENTURE & MOUNTAIN TREKKING!

Travel Insurance

Getting hit with a large hospital bill after getting sick or injured, could really add to your worries! Get some Travel Insurance

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR FREE QUOTE FROM WORLD NOMADS

For more info see: Why you NEED Travel Insurance?

8. Be sure you have all your Travel Accessories

 Things You can’t travel without! I personally recommended a hidden money belt and collapsible water bottle! 

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